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Best Lightweight Trail Running Shoes of 2017

By: Jacob Waltz

Best Lightweight Trail Running Shoes of 2017

For our Spring 2017 test of lightweight trail runners, we had seven experienced runners put five similar shoes head to head on the same trails for between to and three months of testing. We rated them objectively on five categories—speed, agility, security of fit, responsiveness, and protection.

The shoes we tested in this category are designed for faster, more agile trail running. These are built lower to the ground lighter, generally weighing under 10 ounces for men’s sample size (size 9) and 8 ounces for women’s. They are best for more efficient runners who prefer a speedier, more responsive trail running experience.

Overall, the best lightweight trail shoe of the season, by a slim margin, was the New Balance Vazee Summit V2. The second generation of the Vazee Summit simply had the best overall trail running experience—it is fast, agile, lightweight, adequately protected, and delivers a very secure and confidence inspiring fit on fast downhills. It was also one of the most versatile shoes we tested this year—it absolutely flies when it needs to, but there is enough cushioning and support for fairly long distances and technical trails.

For thicker, more comfort-oriented shoes, check out the tests for our “cushioned and protective trail runners” which are typically slower, thicker, and meatier shoes.  

New Balance Vazee Summit 2

89

2017

New Balance Vazee Summit 2

The New Balance Vazee Summit 2 is a lightweight and responsive trail runner with excellent traction, speed, and versatility.

Saucony Peregrine 7

88

2017

Saucony Peregrine 7

The Saucony Peregrine 7 is an outstanding general purpose trail running shoe that will appeal to a wide range of runners.

Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3

82

2017

Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3

The Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3 is a highly cushioned trail shoe with a smooth ride and surprising responsiveness.

Altra Superior 3

80

2017

Altra Superior 3

The Altra Superior 3 is a lightweight zero-drop trail runner with excellent handling and comfort.

Scarpa Spin

74

2017

Scarpa Spin

The Scarpa Spin is a nimble but stiff general purpose shoe with great traction and handling.

About the Author

Jacob Waltz

Jacob Waltz

A competitive road cyclist in his younger years and lifelong outdoor enthusiast, Jacob discovered his love for long distance trail running as an adult. He lives in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Santa Fe.

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